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Horse Racing

Cheltenham – Friday 10th December

Friday 10th December 13:50

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith gives us his rundown of Cheltenham's Friday card, and has plenty of big-priced each-way picks.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Methodtothemadness 12/1 each-way (3 places - without favourite option C)
Cheltenham 13.50
Place Bet
Commodore 5/1 each-way (4 places)
Cheltenham 14.25
Place Bet
Diesel D'Allier 5/1 each-way (5 places)
Cheltenham 15.00
Place Bet
Super Citizen 40/1 each-way (5 places)
Cheltenham 15.00
Place Bet
Botox Has 7/1 each-way (4 places)
Cheltenham 15.35
Place Bet

Date of Tips: 09/12/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (18:39 09/12/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Going up the night before with selections about a big meeting can be fraught with danger, on account of changes in price/ground/tactical nuances that may develop during the meeting etc, but I’m going to do so anyway on for day one of Cheltenham’s December meeting on Friday.

The main issue here could be regarding the ground, as at the time of writing it is ‘good to soft, good in places’ with up to 5mm forecast overnight, so I’m working on somewhere near ‘good to soft’ and certainly no worse than ‘soft’ you’d imagine.

That said, all these selections won’t mind if it did go soft, so that’s why you’re getting them a day early!

Lucinda Russell, buoyed by the big race successes of Ahoy Senor and Big River, sends a couple of raiders down to the Cotswolds for Friday’s meeting, and without doubt her best chance of a winner is with improving novice chaser Corach Rambler in the 1.15.

But it is with his travelling companion that I feel we could squeeze more profit from, and am going to recommend a slightly niche bet on Methodtothemadness in the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase at 1.50.

In no rush to take on the two market leaders Fontaine Collonges (who has taken to fences extremely well) and Rose Of Arcadia (who looks like she was made for a fence), instead I am going to suggest backing Methodtothemadness at 12/1 each-way with Paddy Power, in their ‘without favourite market option C’, which diverts the aforementioned two big guns.

At 25/1 each-way with Coral and Ladbrokes for 4 places in the outright, I could see the sense in siding with that, and recognise that the niche bet advised won’t be available to all.

But shop around for extra places and other exotic markets. For instance, William Hill offer 12/1 without the same ‘big two’, but crucially don’t offer the each-way part of the bet.

Choose your own poison here, but either way, Methodtothemadness will run better than her price suggests, off the back of two last time out efforts that are working out very well.

Next up is the Betfair Handicap Chase at 2.25, and somewhere in a parallel universe we could be talking about Venetia Williams’ Commodore going for a repeat success in the race, as Charlie Deutsch had nowhere near gone for everything when Commodore stumbled on landing after the last 12 months ago, and ejected Charlie out of the side door.

At 5/1 each-way with William Hill, who offer 4 places, Commodore is a horse that goes extremely well fresh, represents a red-hot stable, and will enjoy every drop of rain that were to fall, which is perhaps not the case for rivals Enrilo, Mister Fogpatches and Hurricane Harvey.

The Glenfarclas Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase at 3.00 amazingly features the first 8 home from the November race over the unique course, and it is with one of those that I am siding for the main pick.

Again, it is a slightly chewy each-way price, that bookmakers hate, but taking the extra places angle it is one that makes sense.

Diesel D’Allier was a winner over the course in November 2019, and on first start for Richard Bandey a month ago, looked all over the winner for 99% of that race. Maybe a lack of a recent run just told late on, as he did drift a little in the late markets, and on ground that will be more to his liking, he is worth backing at 5/1 each-way widely for 5 places.

Backing horses who are more than a stone out of the handicap is a fast way to the poor house, but races over this course don’t often stick to convention, and Eugene O’Sullivan’s Super Citizen is definitely worth a small each-way wager at 40/1 with Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook for 5 places also.

Super Citizen had a sighter over the normal chase track at the October meeting, and fared with credit before being done for toe in the last mile. He then fairly skipped round Punchestown’s Cross Country course a month ago, and it could be that the combination of 3m7f, soft(ish) ground and this idiosyncratic track produce a huge run. At 40/1 it’s worth chancing to find out.

The final bet on Friday’s card is to oppose the strong favourite, Sporting John, in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle at 3.35, run over the stamina-sapping 3m of the New course.

Botox Has ran away with a Triumph Hurdle trial on this track two seasons ago, beating Langer Dan and Elysian Flame, and has since fared with real credit on any number of occasions at the track and in other races that haven’t played to his main suit – namely stamina.

Off the back of a run in the Greatwood Hurdle, where Botox Has passed 5 horses on the run-in, it is notable that Gary Moore steps him up to 3m all in one fell swoop, and with cheekpieces on for the first time.

At 7/1 for four places each-way with Ladbrokes, Coral or William Hill, Botox Has could easily bustle up the favourite.

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